A muse and a mentor can go a long way toward helping an artist transform music into magic. While labanotation is a wonderful tool for documenting choreography, it can't capture the more intangible aspects of dance.
Look closely and you'll find proponents who keep tradition alive for the faithful, and with the foresight of knowing that what's old will someday be new once again. Gianni Valenti and Jim Caruso are living this daily at cabaret club, Birdland.
This time of year, things are so beehive-hectic in these parts that it's easy to drive around on a single Saturday and see, say, The Visit at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and the compacted-into-one Henry IV Part I and IIat Shakespeare and Company.
Chita Rivera is on fire. In August I was one of hundreds cheering as a slinky Rivera, black flapper -- style dress fluttering, made her grand entrance from the back of the audience into Cherry Grove, Fire Island's Ice Palace.
While this exuberant, interactive, choose-your-own ending musical may be a bit vulgar, it is also skilfully directed, joyously performed and a darn good time in a season of unimpressive musicals on Broadway.
Today, many singers who are a fraction of Barbara Cook's age wish they could sing with the wisdom, phrasing, and musical intuition of an artist whose voice has maintained its sweetness and purity for so many years